Double the Value of Your Club Carlson Points with New Club Carlson Credit Cards

Mommy Points writes about the just-released Club Carlson credit cards.

They’re issued by US Bank, which is great because it’s another card option not from Chase or American Express (or Citibank). There are of course only but so many cards that most folks can get from Chase/Citi/Amex.

My impression on first read-through was that there was a decent though not stellar signup bonus, decent though not stellar points earned, and that the card might be one I’d get for the bonus at some point but no much else.

And then I read through the terms and conditions more closely and realized one killer app benefit. Which I’ll get to in a moment.

There are (3) different cards that have been introduced.

  • Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature
    • 5 Club Carlson points per dollar on most spend ($11,000$10,000 spend gets you a top tier hotel night), 10 points per dollar on Club Carlson hotel spend.
    • 85,000 point signup bonus — 50,000 after first purchase and 35,000 more after $2500 spend within 90 days
    • “Bonus Award Night” Your last night on an award redemption is free.
    • Automatic Club Carlson Gold status
    • $75 annual fee

  • Club Carlson Rewards Visa Signature
    • 3 points per dollar on most spend, 6 points on Club Carlson spend
    • 60,000 point signup bonus — 50,000 after first purchase and 10,000 more after $1500 spend within 90 days
    • “Bonus Award Night” Your last night on an award redemption is free.
    • Automatic Club Carlson Silver status
    • $50 annual fee

  • Club Carlson Business Rewards Visa
    • 5 Club Carlson points per dollar on most spend ($11,000 spend gets you a top tier hotel night), 10 points per dollar on Club Carlson hotel spend.
    • 85,000 point signup bonus — 50,000 after first purchase and 35,000 more after $2500 spend within 90 days
    • “Bonus Award Night” Your last night on an award redemption is free.
    • Automatic Club Carlson Gold status
    • $60 annual fee

The key here is that Bonus Award Night. On a two night award stay, it’s two for the price of one. Redeem 2 nights at a top tier property, and it’s 50,000 free points every time, up to 50 free nights per year. Most people aren’t going to book 50 2-night award stays at top tier properties to be sure, but maxing out this benefit would effectively mean 2.5 million bonus points per year.

Here are the terms and conditions of that benefit, nothing surprising and no gotchas:

3 Bonus Award Night: When you redeem Gold Points for Award Nights of two or more consecutive nights at the same participating Carlson Rezidor hotel property, you will receive the last of the Award Nights of that stay free without deduction of any Gold Points from your Club Carlson account (“Bonus Award Night”). Your Account must be open and reservation must be in the Club Carlson member’s name and use the member number associated with your Account to be eligible for the Bonus Award Night. The Bonus Award Night offer is available only on advance reservations for Award Nights paid in full with Gold Points and is not valid with standard paid reservations or Points + Cash redemption reservations. Only one Bonus Award Night will be available for a stay of two or more consecutive nights at the same hotel (early checkout with one night stay not eligible), regardless of the total length of stay, the total number of reservations or the number of check-in/check-outs, is subject to availability and all other terms and conditions and cancellation policies regarding Award Nights apply. Does not apply to additional reservations booked as contiguous stays at the same hotel. Only one room per reservation, per hotel for an Award Stay will be eligible to receive the Bonus Award Night offer. Maximum fifty (50) Bonus Award Nights per calendar year per member with an open Account (“Annual Maximum”). If a reservation with a Bonus Award Night is subject to a cancellation penalty, the Bonus Award Night from that reservation will count against the Annual Maximum. A Bonus Award Night has no Gold Point or cash value and cancellations involving a Bonus Award Night will not result in the credit of any additional Gold Points in your Club Carlson account.

A great incentive to earn lots of Club Carlson points in order to redeem them with a free night each and every time that your reward stay is 2 nights or more.

This seems like a great card to apply for, pocket the bonus, and keep. It’s not that rewarding a card for spending except to the extent that you’re stretching your points for these two-for-one redemptions.

(Note for those interested in such matters, this the Club Carlson cards do not offer me referral credits of any kind, just an interesting new product.)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. […] Here are the top 5 cards from US Bank: Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card give you an 85,000 point signup bonus — 50,000 after first purchase and 35,000 more after $2500 spend within 90 days plus Gold status in the program and your last night on every award redemption free. The annual fee is $75. (The small business version of the card has a $15 lower annual fee) […]


  1. If you click on the Business Card details…you also get 40,000 bonus points each year upon renewal.

  2. Even if one wasn’t going to stay two nights you could book two nights and use it as a late checkout benefit.

  3. How often should you apply for a US Bank card? I took advantage of the Olympics Flex Perks 91 days ago.

  4. This looks like a great card to be included in my next round of apps! A couple weeks ago I used 60,000 points for 4 nights at a very decent Park Plaza in Bangkok. I got my points from paying $90 for one night at a local Country Inn & Suites. I thought that was a great redemption! Turns out I really like Club Carlson, especially for Asia trips.

  5. Looks like a couple traveling together could do half price 4 nt stays too as long as the points for each 2 nt reservation come out of separate accounts.

  6. I must admit, that 2nd night bonus makes this a very lucrative offer. The points redemption schedule looks similar to the Hilton, especially at the top end, but that bonus night can really help boost the value of the program.

    I’m assuming that perk is a permanent fixture of the card, so it would likely be a card worth keeping, as you don’t know if it will be offered again in the future. Were there any expiration dates listed on the credit card offer? I might add it to my next AOR, but that won’t be until early Feb.

  7. 5 Club Carlson points per dollar on most spend ($11,000 spend gets you a top tier hotel night)

    I don’t understand that math. 50k is free night at top tier. 5 x $10k = 50k.

    It’s not that rewarding a card for spending

    Disagree. The Hyatt card requires $22k of regular spend for top tier night, the SPG card requires $35k of spend, HHonors Surpass requires $16,666. This looks to be the most rewarding hotel CC on the market for regular spend and that’s not even calculating the killer last night free feature!

    Obviously Carlson’s top tier properties can’t match PHs and some of the HH and Luxury Collection/St. Regis, however, they have some VERY nice places and they treat their Concierges (which I am one) VERY nicely.

  8. @Hansgolden 11 vs 10. was a typo. But not the most reqarding for spend… on the whole I would compare to 12k spend with spf amex for hotel eedemptions but without the flexibility and value of mileage transfers.

  9. Is this benefit really sustainable? I mean, why would you bother booking a 1-night reward anymore?! Either book the night before as well (for free) so you can check in as early as you want, or book the night after (for free) so you can check out as late as you want!

  10. In order to use the free night benefit, you would need enough points in the first place to redeem for at least one night. So to get your 2.5million points, you would have needed your own 2.5million points first! For the average folk, you would only be able to use this benefit once or twice with your initial bonus.

  11. A very interesting benefit indeed. I won’t jump just now, but I’ve contemplated a summer trip to Scandinavia one day (my long list, not my short list). This would very much come in handy.

  12. If I have 156,000 points already and they expire 9/28/14. Will having the CC extend these points?

  13. @ Kev, they don’t really expire do they? I thought you need to keep some activity every 24months. You can do this by redeeming 2000 points for 250 airline miles. While it might not be the best use, it is a small amount. I’d imagine this would count as activity.

  14. Correct Kevin.

    “Do Gold Points expire?
    No, Gold Points® do not have an expiration date as long as your account remains active by earning or redeeming within a 24 month period.”

    So by earning points on credit card purchases you should extend the points’ life.

  15. Heather – I am in the same boat (Olypics card about 3 months ago). I still applied today. Decision pending. Last time thay called before approval (presumably because of other recemt new cards since my credit is excellent). I’ll be the guinea pig and let you know.

  16. I am considering applying for this card as I already have 115,000 CC points and have trips planned for AZ this spring and San Fran this summer. Lucy, #7, said, “US Bank automatically declines anyone with too many recent credit inquiries”. I’m wondering how many are too many. TransUnion is showing 6 inquiries for me.

    Also wondering what level of tolerance U.S. Bank has for credit scores. I don’t like to waste a hard pull. As of today, my credit score is: 779 on Credit Sesame, 786 on Quizzle and 929 (Vantage) on Credit Karma.

  17. Carol – Watch here and I’ll let you how my application goes. I applied today and decision is pending (ie. no instant approval). You have more pulls and a about the same scores.

  18. Sorry I disagree with the value of this deal. If you can get the 50000 points from the third night deal you’d have to spend 100000 to get them in the first place. I have a ton of points in this program and have been a member of club Carlson or the old gold points program for 10+ years and the earn rate isn’t great unless you get a luck bonus deal like they had last year and the redeem rate at most properties is high. Think 50k is typically worth 1 night in that world. Sure you can do better in Bangkok or at some properties but to stay in the nicer ones its 50k or more. I have a reservation on Rome in January at the Blu hotel there and it’s 70k for one night.

  19. Carlson was the first program I recognized as offering easier points and theoretical value, but as many of us came to recognize in the chasing of the various 50K promos they’ve run recently, their properties in the US are not the equivalent of most major programs. You really need to aim redemptions at overseas locations.

  20. Both MommyPoints and Lucy say that they automatically turn apps down for too many recent inquiries. How many is too many, and what is recent? I churn around 4 cards every 4 months, and just did a churn. Does that mean I should forget about this card, or just make it the first one I apply for next March? I see great value for these points in Europe. But there’s no point in getting another hard pull if I will be automatically turned down. Anyone have a clue about this?

  21. Check the Status of My Credit Card Application? Please call 800-947-1444 and choose option 1 for the status of an application. The potential cardmember will be required to enter his/her social security number to locate the application. Additional verification item(s) will be needed to validate.

    U.S. Bank Offer Verification

  22. JOHN REFERENCE UR REMARK “STAN, 866 458 8804 is Bank of America, NOT USBANK!”

    “ck said,”

    Anyone know if there is a reconsideration number for” boa?”

  23. DaninSTL…the reason you are having to use 70k for the Radisson Blu Rome is because they evidently don’t have standard awards available for the night you need. 50k points is the rate for their highest category hotels in a standard room. Specialty rooms or suites require higher rates in Club Carlson just like they do in virtually every other hotel program.

  24. I didn’t see anyone else explain it much (maybe post 35).. but this benefit looks like you have to have the ‘refundable’ points first before getting good use.

    As and example:
    From a couple of the promos over the past 2 years I have over 125,000 points. Getting the Premier card would put me at 210,000.
    210k -100k(2 nights) +50k(refunded)= 160k
    160k -100k(available)+50k(refunded)= 110k
    110k -100k(available)+50k(refunded)= 60k
    60k -60k(for 2 30k nights) +30k(refunded)= 30k
    30k= one last 30k night
    So my points would get me 3(50k nights) and 2(30k nights)
    and the CC benefit would give me an extra 3x(50k) and 1x(30k)
    for a total of 6x(50k’s) and 3x(30k’s)

    Works well if you have points. but if you only started with the 85k and a little more spend, you could get 2(30k point nights) and 2(30k benefit free nights)

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